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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 7, v. 17: "Hi'nei onochi ma'keh" - Behold I will smite - Many commentators explain the appropriateness of smiting the Egyptians with specifically the ten plagues, as recorded in our and the following parshios. The Kli Yokor offers:

1) The Nile was smitten in response to Paroh's saying that the Nile was his and he created himself (Yechezkel 29:3). The death of the fish was a response to the Egyptians restraining the bnei Yisroel from multiplying as fish.

2) The frogs are a response to Paroh's saying that he does not recognize Hashem. Lowly frogs, however, did recognize Hashem and did His bidding by entering heated ovens and the like. This also negated Paroh's claim that he created the Nile, and here we find the Nile spewing forth legions and legions of frogs.

3) Lice were a response to the Egyptians forcing the bnei Yisroel to work so hard that they sweated profusely. This brings on lice, especially when bathing facilities were not available. The lice came from the earth since the Egyptians forced the bnei Yisroel to work the land very hard.

4) The mixture of wild animals was a response to enslaving the bnei Yisroel who are likened to animals, "Ki chayos heinoh" (Shmos 1:19).

5) The pestilence that killed the Egyptians' livestock was a response to the Egyptians forcing the bnei Yisroel to forsake their former occupation of herding livestock, changing it to creating clay bricks. In response all their livestock died. 6) Boils and other skin afflictions were a response to the Egyptians restraining the bnei Yisroel from reproducing.

Cohabiting when one has these skin afflictions is very painful and deleterious for the skin condition. This concept is mentioned in Breishis Rabboh 41:2, where Paroh was afflicted with this skin condition after he took Soroh. Although this should have served as a warning for the future, once again history bears out that it is a study of mankind not learning a lesson from history.

7) Hail and the accompanying deafening sounds were in response to Paroh's saying that he would not hearken to the voice of Hashem. Paroh now suffered not only the damage inflicted by the fiery balls of hail, but also the "Kol Hashem al hamoyim kol Hashem chotzeiv lahavos aish."

8) Locust, "arbeh," came upon the Egyptians in response to Paroh's attempting to stem the blessing of, "Harbeih arbeh es zar'eich" (Breishis 22:17) with his saying "pen yirbeh."

9) Darkness came upon the Egyptians in response to their causing the bnei Yisroel to hide their newborn males in the depths of dark.

10) The killing of the Egyptian firstborn was in response to their planning to destroy Hashem's firstborn, the bnei Yisroel. He ends by saying that the destruction the Egyptians met at Yam Suf was not an eleventh plague, as nothing was visited upon them. Rather, they ran into the sea and met their doom.

Ch. 7, v. 28: "V'shoratz ha'y'ore tzfardim" - And the river will promulgate frogs - This is all the more amazing given that the Nile was so polluted by the plague of blood that all the marine life it held died. (Rabbi Y.Z. Pollack)

Ch. 8, v. 19: "V'samti f'dus bein ami u'vein a'mecho l'mochor yi'h'yeh ho'ose ha'zeh" - And I will place a division between My ntion and between your nation tomorrow will be this sign - The sign of the difference between a ben Yisroel who believes in Hashem's total involvement in his life and an Egyptian is "mochor," the concern of "what will be tomorrow." This is a sure sign of their difference. (Divrei Yisroel of Modzitz)

Ch. 12, v. 14: "V'chagosem oso chag laShem l'doroseichem chukas olom t'choguhu" - And you shall celebrate it as a festival to Hashem for your generations a permanent statute shall you celebrate it - If we were to celebrate the liberation from slavery in Egypt as a festival of freedom and liberation from slavery only, then when we would again be under the heel of our oppressors we would have no reason to celebrate Pesach. However, this theme falls far short of the reasons for "chag haPesach." Rather, Hashem has taken our nation out of Egypt and brought us close to Him by giving us His Holy Torah, which guides our every step, sanctifying us and giving our lives a higher purpose.

This is the intention of our verse. "V'chagosem oso chag laShem," - we shall celebrate it as a festival for HASHEM, for becoming connected to Hashem through His Torah and becoming sanctified. Thus, even when we are in the position of servitude once again we still maintain this closeness with Hashem. This is why the festival of Pesach is permanent for all generations, as the verse concludes, "chukas olom t'choguhu," because it is not measured by our being enslaved or not enslaved, rather by our always being Hashem's chosen people. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 12, v. 15: "Ach ba'yom horishon tashbisu s'ore mibo'teichem" - Only on the preceding day shall you eradicate sourdough from your lodgings - We make a brochoh before we commence to search for chometz on the evening before Pesach. Should we likewise say "shehecheyonu?" The Itur 2:120:3 says that it should be recited and the Tzror Hachaim page 123 says that his teacher, the Rashb"o likewise said "shehecheyonu." There are others as well who did.

On the other hand, there are many who do not. At first glance it would seem that it should be recited, given that it is the first stage of the mitzvoh of eradicating one's chometz and only comes at distant intervals. However, those who posit that it should not be recited say that the mitzvoh of searching for chometz does not have a set time, as we find that one who leaves his home even up to thirty days before Pesach and will not return before Pesach, should search for it before leaving. The halacha is that if someone did not search for chometz before the prescribed time should do so on the morning or even afternoon of erev Pesach. Had he not done even this he should search even during cholo shel mo'eid. Another reason for not making the blessing is that it is only recited for a mitzvoh that brings happiness. Searching for and eradicating chometz serves to avoid the sin of owning chometz on Pesach. This same reasoning is used to explain why no "shehecheyonu" is recited before commencing "sfiras ho'omer" (Baal Hamo'ore perek Arvei Psochim and responsa Rashb"o 1:379).

Ch. 12, v. 29: "VaShem hikoh" - And Hashem smote - Rashi comments that wherever "vaShem" is written, the inclusive letter Vov adds that Hashem's court was also involved. Hashem's court is made up of angels. They do not fathom people's thoughts. Since Hashem knows their thoughts and bnei Yisroel are not punished for negative thoughts, Hashem uses the angels in His celestial court. When it comes to awarding a positive thought is also rewarded. The rewarding can be done by Hashem on His own.

This is the intention of the verse, "Hashem nosan vaShem lokach." Giving means rewarding and taking means detracting from someone's condition. Giving is done by Hashem without the added letter Vov, while taking is expressed as "vaShem lokach," with the added letter Vov, to indicate that Hashem's court is involved. (Nezer Hakodesh)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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